Saturday, 29 December 2012

People Roundup

David Tennant made one of his regular guest appearances on the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio on 21st December, again starring in the show's festive performance - this time as the Virgin Mary in their Nativity, Dude, Where's My Donkey? The play was recorded and can be watched in three parts: One; Two; Three.

The actor also made the news for his novel way of deterring foxes from his back garden. [Standard, 21 Dec 2012]

Steven Moffat talked about his rituals over Christmas (as well as watching Doctor Who of course!). For example, on the subject of the inevitable requirements to put things together: "Sue will tell me to assemble something. Maybe just put batteries into some toys. And I'll sit on the floor with a screwdriver, and do my Daddy thing. Slowly, by degrees, it becomes a compulsion. I find more and more things to assemble. And then I need more and more! I'm rummaging in the bins, trying to find the instruction manuals among all the scarves and Sue's new jewellery. They start calling me for Christmas lunch, but "No!" I cry. "Just one more thing. I need to assemble just one more thing!" Then I'm breaking into the boys’ Lego kits and putting them together like a crazed junkie, destroying weeks of fun at a stroke. Somehow, though, before I can make it to Ikea to demand flatpacks at gunpoint, Sue will manage to get me to the dinner table to eat with the family." [Standard, 21 Dec 2012]

The recent series of Pointless Celebrities in the lead-up to Christmas - hosted as always by Alexander Armstrong - saw a number of Doctor Who-related actors and actresses taking part in the quiz. Nicholas Parsons appeared in episode eight, though he and partner Rick Wakeman were unable to win through to the final. However, former companion actress Bonnie Langford did reach the final with partner Todd Carty, though they were unable to find the pointless answer they needed to win the prize money for their charities. Likewise, the final episode of the series saw the pairing of two stalwart character actors Derek Martin and Graham Cole also make it to the final but fail to be pointless!

BBC Radio One DJ Reggie Yates presented his last edition of The Official Chart on 23rd December. He has been at the BBC for some ten years, and presented the chart show on Sunday evenings for the last five. Future projects include a new documentary series for BBC Three.

Karen Gillan has published a photo of her and co-star Brenton Thwaites during filming for her upcoming movie Oculus. [Karen Gillan via Twitter, 23 Dec 2012]

Louise Jameson goes on tour in January and February with the adult-themed play My Gay Best Friend. She will be appearing at The Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester on Saturday 5th January, Hull Truck Theatre on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th January, The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday 12th February, Harrow Arts Centre on Wednesday 13th February, and The Under Ground Theatre in Eastbourne on Thursday 14th February. Jameson will also be appearing in Pulling Faces at The Berry Theatre in Hedge End on Friday 8th February. Again, this production has adult themes. [louisejameson.com]

(compiled by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)
(with thanks to Kenny Davidson)

New Year Honours List

Michael Cashman has been made a CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire - for public and political service. The former actor played Bilton in Time-Flight but became more widely known as an actor for his role as Colin Russell in EastEnders. He is now a Labour MEP for the West Midlands and was a co-founder of Stonewall.

As an aside, the singer-songwriter Kate Bush has also been made a CBE, with her honour being given for services to music - for many years a fan myth persisted that she had written both Kinda and Snakedance under the pseudonym of Christopher Bailey - something the real Bailey found quite amusing!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Doctor Who Adventures Goes Global With App

Doctor Who Adventures reaches issue number 300 today and to mark the occasion it has launched an app, making the publication available around the world via iPads and iPhones.

Returning after its Christmas break, the magazine has a free set of Dalek figures and a pack of Doctor Who Monster Invasion Extreme cards, while among the contents of issue 300 are:

  • An episode guide for The Snowmen
  • A peek at the Whoniverse in 2013
  • Monster resolutions
  • More comic adventures
  • A look at the brand-new TARDIS

People can get the app from the App Stores in the UK and USA.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Snowmen: Press Preview Q&A

The BBC have made some of the press preview Q&A for The Snowmen that took place on the 18th December available to watch online; the session features Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Steven Moffat interviewed by TV reviewer Boyd Hilton, and then taking questions from the audience, including where the idea of Clara came from, a new-look TARDIS, and how long Matt is going to stay as the Doctor!

A full transcript of the Q&A has also been made available by Ian Wylie.

The Snowmen: Press Reaction

A roundup of selected quotes from the media after the broadcast of The Snowmen on Christmas/Boxing Day. Links to the full review can be found by clicking on the author's name. You can also read our own review here.

Note: reviews can contain spoilers!

UK: The Independent

Overall Moffat has dished out a stronger offering this year. The story was apparently based on a piece written by Douglas Adams. This may the reason why this year was decidedly more comic than previous Christmas specials. The humour is largely thanks to Strax who provided most of the laughs through his Sontaran view of the human race. But it was also more disturbing in a behind-the-sofa way, even at Christmas a little scare isn’t always a bad thing. The Snowmen has now brought the Doctor out of his state of retirement and ready for action again after such a brooding period.

While the episode was enjoyable the problem was that the story feels truncated and rushed. Granted the time frame leaves little room for dalliances but it would have been nice to have seen more of Simeon’s developing relationship with the Great Intelligence. Grant is brilliant as the villain but more of him would have been even better.

UK: The Radio Times

Well, hats off to Steven Moffat. He’s just presented us with alternative abominable snowmen, and not only reintroduced the Great Intelligence but also established how this malignant, disembodied force came into being.

There are lots of lovely images (the Jack and the Beanstalk-like spiral staircase leading to the clouds), and my favourite moment being the truly wonderful effect of the camera (and hence the viewer) following the Doctor and Clara directly through the police box doors into the huge Tardis interior. Has this effect ever been achieved before..? I may have forgotten. And how was it done? Where’s BBC3’s Doctor Who Confidential when you need it!

UK: The Mirror

Suddenly, the Doctor is faced with an intriguing new mystery – one that involves, among other things, soufflĂ©s. So where the kids will look forward to it and the fans will discuss it endlessly, maybe the casual watcher will be intrigued enough to follow the Time Lord into his golden year, just to see how the latest curious twist of the twice-dead girl unfolds.

Where this year’s Who snowtacular fails is appealing to the dinner-bloated and mildly disinterested middle viewer. It’ll totally pass by family members who, at 5.15 in the afternoon, just want to sleep for a bit until they feel the need to attack the cold cuts. Through sprout-engorged eyes and a brandy befuddle, it’s a great piece of entertainment but it doesn’t hold up to much sober fanboy scrutiny. It’s miles better than anything else on, but for the casual Christmas viewer there’s little to hold the interest besides noticing how gorgeous the new companion is, and well... maybe the ending.

UK: The Telegraph

It was an enjoyable enough romp, I suppose, and I imagine that reference-spotters had a field-day. There were nods not only to The Snowman but also to Sherlock – cheekily suggested to have been, in “real-life”, the lesbian Silurian Madame Vastra. The shadow of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw could be detected in the CGI figure of the dead governess, made of ice and snarling “That’s The Way To Do It!”. There were shades of Dickens and CS Lewis and maybe even the smoke-fashioned staircase from the Mary Poppins film too in the episode’s best touch - having the newly refurbished Tardis float above town on a bed of “super-dense water vapour”, reachable only by a vertiginous spiral staircase.

At least twinkly-eyed Matt Smith was on irrepressible form as always, his careworn Doc emerging from ethical hibernation to save the world, again, and exchange repartee with, oh please no, his adopted comedy sidekick Strax (Dan Starkey) of the once terrifying now just silly Sontaran race. The sooner his luscious new companion, revealed as Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara – former barmaid and erstwhile Dalek (yes, really) – fills the Pond-shaped void in his life the better but I fear that if Moffat doesn’t rein in his tendencies to make every script a brain-teaser of Sudoku-like complexity, his young audience will melt away, fast.

UK: The Guardian

Welcome back, Merry Christmas, and wow. The Snowmen was easily the finest Christmas special under this regime. After last year's dog's giblets of an episode, it needed to be, but this poetic romp was actually the best since The Christmas Invasion, and possibly better. It had everything we like about Doctor Who (frights, romance, running, a menacing baddie, lizard people) while being just sentimental enough to tick off a lot of things we like about Christmas.

UK: Crave Online

Matt Smith was terrific as always, particularly during the inspired bit when the Doctor briefly impersonates Sherlock Holmes. But as the Doctor is won over by Clara, the audience is as well. And when Clara is lost, the Doctor makes the viewers feel that loss as well.

“The Snowmen” was a rousing “Doctor Who” story that feels like it matters in the long term of the series. A new TARDIS, a new opening sequence and a new companion? That’s the start of a new era for sure. And the prospects for it look good for now.

USA: Los Angeles Times

Clara appears to be a mirror image of the Doctor: fearless, curious and intuitive, a match not only of wits but of shared delight in the power of knowing. That is the perpetual tension that fuels the Doctor. A Time Lord weighted with the wisdom of the ages, believing himself to be the last of his kind, has only his sense of wonder to protect him from the great sorrow born of endless knowledge and experience. Fortunately it is boundless, like his energy, and of all the recent Doctors, Smith best captures the power of willful youthfulness. Not in appearance, though he is the most boyish of the canon, but in resilience, the springiness that allows a child to find miracles in the mundane, to truly believe that today will be better than yesterday.

The world always needs the Doctor, but perhaps never more than on Christmas day.

USA: New York Magazine - Vulture

There can’t be enough praise showered on Coleman at this point, who is quite simply a breath of fresh air for this series, at a time when it so desperately needs it. I’ve not fallen for a new companion this hard and fast since Rose Tyler, who had the benefit of being there when the series relaunched, so that’s not even a fair comparison. This new girl just devours the camera lens; a more photogenic companion we’ve probably never seen. It was easy to understand the Doctor’s reinvigoration through her, because as viewers we were experiencing the same feelings, and the scene in which he gives her the TARDIS key, only for her to be lost seconds later, was a serious tearjerker; that was more moving than anything in “The Angels Take Manhattan.”

I had mad, crazy love for both “A Christmas Carol” and “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe,” Moffat’s previous holiday outings, and hoped to feel the same about “The Snowmen,” but ultimately didn’t. Yet this episode held a much different function in the series than either of those entries, coming in the middle of a season as it did. Whereas his first two Christmas specials were entirely standalone tales, this one was anything but, steeped in the ongoing storyline as it was. What worked within it worked very, very well, and what didn’t was disastrous.

USA: EntertainmentWise

So, there you have it - it was one intense episode full of adventure and tense scenes, but what would Doctor Who be without all of the chaos? In between such madness the Doctor and Clara even managed to find a moment to embrace in a loving/unexpected kiss and joke around with each other, including Doctor Who doing a one man version of Punch and Judy - what more could you ask for? It gave us all a brilliantly entertaining hour on our Christmas day and I am sure it has left most of us wanting to know what happens next! We will just have to wait very patiently for later on into the year.

USA: io9

... an episode that shows Moffat returning to form with a lot of fun and zaniness bolted onto a pretty successful fairy-tale framework. The overall task of this episode is to relaunch Matt Smith's Doctor with a new(ish) companion and a new(ish) semi-regular supporting cast, and in those terms it works beautifully. The story takes the classic "companion becomes fascinated with the Doctor and learns about him/tracks him down" storyline and does something new and interesting with it. And it advances the Doctor's arc of trying and failing to go it alone, which Moffat has been building since "The God Complex."

USA: Wired

I came away from this episode with a major question: Is Moffat setting us up for a new Doctor romance? Or is there more to Clara than meets the eye? The flirting between her and the Doctor reminds me a lot of the flirtatious relationship he has with River Song, and I wouldn’t put it past Moffat to be playing us. Given that Clara has a remarkable gift for not dying, could she be regenerating somehow? But then why is this the first time “Clara” has seen the TARDIS in this episode. Then again, we’ve never seen the first time that River saw the TARDIS. In “Let’s Kill Hitler”, she knew the Doctor had a time machine and didn’t have the standard “It’s bigger on the inside argument.”

Despite a few short-comings, this years Christmas outing is a good deal stronger than last years rather disappointing “The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe.” That was an episode with a lot of promise but a story that never seemed to gel. “The Snowman” had a story that, despite a sentimental ending with a families tears defeating the frozen menace, still held together.

USA: The Examiner

It was an excellent episode, and it was a nice and welcome Christmas present for all the fans of the show. The biggest mystery of course (besides the fact that the sonic screwdriver can obviously harden clouds enough to walk on) is Clara. How is it possible for her to be the same person? Because based on her name and the words Clara threw at the Doctor, she is one and the same. The past and the future. How is that possible?

Australia: WA Today

All told The Snowman is a strong Doctor Who episode. Jenna-Louise Coleman, who we first met as Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks, returns as Clara Oswald, presumably an ancestor. In true Moffat style, we finish the episode knowing a little more, and whole lot less, about her.

Further Reading

Daily Mail, International Business Times(UK), LSMedia(UK), IGN(UK), Forbes(USA), Wall Street Journal(USA), TGDaily(USA), AssignmentX(USA), ComicMix(USA), Blast(USA), Mashable(USA), Boston Standard(USA), TwitchFilm(CA), The Age(AU), The West Australian(AU)

The Snowmen scores an AI of 87

The Snowmen had an Appreciation Index, or AI score, of 87.

The Appreciation Index or AI is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme. The score, out of a hundred, is compiled by a specially selected panel of around 5,000 people who go online and rate and comment on programmes.

Doctor Who scored higher than most of the Christmas Day output. The most appreciated programmes were Downton Abbey on ITV1 and Call the Midwife on BBC One, both of which scored 90.

This year's score is higher than the majority of the previous Christmas Day specials, with last year's The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe scoring 84. Only the first part of the Tenth Doctor's swansong, The End of Time - Part One, equalled the score of 87.

An additional 0.56 million have now watched The Snowmen, via the Boxing Day repeat on BBC Three, where it achieved a 2.3% share of the total TV audience.

Australian ratings for The Snowmen

The Snowmen has debuted in Australia, averaging 697,000 viewers in the five major capital cities. It came second in its time-slot, was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's top-rating drama of the day and the twelfth highest rating programme of the day overall.  These ratings do not include regional or time-shifted viewers.
Media Links: TV Tonight

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)

Sir Richard Rodney BennettThe composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has died aged 76.

As well as many and varied classical pieces, he also wrote film and TV scores, with the incidental music for the 1964 story The Aztecs being among them. The four-part adventure is to be released as a special edition DVD in March.

Born in Broadstairs, Bennett - who was also an accomplished jazz pianist - studied and later taught at the Royal Academy of Music.

His film work included the score for Nicholas and Alexandra, which starred Tom Baker as Rasputin and Michael Jayston as Nicholas and featured Julian Glover, Maurice Denham, Gordon Gostelow, Brian Cox, and Steven Berkoff.

He also provided the score for Four Weddings And A Funeral, written by Richard Curtis and starring Hugh Grant, who was one of the Doctors in the 1999 Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death, written by Steven Moffat. Other films to feature Bennett's music included Murder On The Orient Express, with George Coulouris among the cast.

Bennett was Oscar-nominated for his music for Far From The Madding Crowd, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Murder On The Orient Express, with the latter garnering him a BAFTA award.

Appointed a CBE in 1977, he received his knighthood in 1998. Bennett moved to New York in 1979 and in his later years also became an artist noted for his collage work.


The Snowmen - Overnight Viewing Figures

The Snowmen had an overnight audience of 7.59 million viewers, a share of 33.9% of the total TV audience.

Doctor Who was the fifth most-watched programme of the day, which saw BBC One take seven of the top ten places in the ratings chart. The most watched programme of the day was EastEnders which had 9.4 million watching.

ITV1's highest rated show of the day was Coronation Street with 8.6 million viewers.

Doctor Who was down on last year's overnight figure, which saw the show transmitted in a much later time slot, where it had 8.9 million watching. This year, against the Doctor, Emmerdale achieved 4.7 million viewers.

Despite its early start, Doctor Who out-rated some prime time shows including the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife.

Final figures, which will include those who record the programme and watch it later, will be available next week.

Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary stamps confirmed

The Royal Mail has confirmed that it will release a set of stamps in March to commemorate Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. All 11 television Doctors will be represented on first-class stamps, with their image surrounded by the title sequence and associated logo.

Royal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: First DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Second DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Third DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Fourth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Fifth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Sixth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Seventh DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Eighth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Ninth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Tenth DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Eleventh DoctorRoyal Mail Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Stamps: Minisheet

A five-stamp miniature sheet will also be released, with pride of place going to the TARDIS as a first-class stamp. The other four stamps will be for second class and will feature a Dalek, Cyberman, Ood and Weeping Angel.

Andrew Hammond, Managing Director, Stamps and Collectibles at Royal Mail, said:
We are delighted to be able to celebrate this remarkable 50th anniversary. These stamps pay tribute to the brilliant actors that have played the Doctor over the years as well as the adversaries that helped make the show so popular.

Fiona Eastwood, Product Development Director, BBC Worldwide Consumer Products, said:
The Doctor Who stamps are the perfect way to mark and celebrate the 50th anniversary of this much-loved programme. The collection is really impressive, and I am sure they will delight all Doctor Who fans.

The stamps - which will be available to buy online from abroad - will be released on Tuesday 26th March 2013 and can be pre-ordered by registering with Royal Mail. A dedicated link for overseas buyers should be available tomorrow but if people from overseas want to register before then they can do so by using the "Register" link at the top right of the page linked to above.

More information relating to the issue will be released nearer the time, and Doctor Who News is delighted to say that it will be running a competition when the stamps are issued, with some terrific Doctor Who stamp prizes from Royal Mail.

UPDATE: Overseas residents can now register their interest in the stamps by using this dedicated link.


(with thanks to Royal Mail)
(article by Chuck Foster and John Bowman)

The Snowmen: Behind the Scenes

The BBC have released a behind-the-scenes video that explores the making of The Snowmen. The confidentialette looks at how modern-day Bristol was transformed into Victorian London, with observations by Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Matt Smith (The Doctor), Saul Metzstein (director) and Caroline Skinner (executive producer).

The clip joins a number that have been released over the course of December, including interviews with Jenna, Dan Starkey (Strax) and Richard E Grant (Dr Simeon).

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Doctor Who News Team!

The Doctor Who News team wish you a Merry Christmas, and hope you all enjoy The Snowmen!
Merry Christmas

(don't forget, you can still enter our Christmas Competition before 6:15pm tonight!)

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Snowmen: publicity coverage




Jenna-Louise Coleman was a guest on BBC Breakfast this morning, chatting about her impending arrival as Clara in tomorrow's The Snowmen, and how this relates to her previous appearance back in September, in Asylum of the Daleks:
The Clara you will meet in the Christmas Special is living in Victorian London, working in a pub, also living a bit of a double life as a governess looking after some children ...

We've already met Oswin in Asylym of the Daleks ... Basically it's what been referred to as "a soft mystery", and if anybody's hoping to get any answers ... it's something that will be ongoing for quite a while and in true Steven Moffat style you won't really get any answers in the Christmas Special, it will just raise more questions, and get more and more complicated and fascinating.
In a pre-recorded interview with entertainment correspondent Liza Mzimba, she said:
It's a mystery. I've met the Doctor once before, which he doesn't quite know yet, and it all begins to piece together and I keep popping up ...

Talking about the interaction between her character and the Doctor, she said:
It's been a really interesting process for me and for Matt how a new companion will change the Doctor and vice-versa, and trying to find our dynamic and how we're going to move forward with the show. It's been really interesting, like Matt said, the kind of days where he would be discovering things and finding ways in which the Doctor is changing and is different with his new companion.
Matt Smith mentioned the relationship between the two to Lizo:
They're figuring each other out, and it's just wonderful to see it at the start, because it reinvogorates the show. You see these two people meeting, and sussing each other out - so it's about learning how they get on together, and seeing them size each other up.

I think there's always a bit of sexual tension between the Doctor and the companion ... so I hope so!
Matt Smith was interviewed in The Independent, where he also commented on the new relationship:
The Doctor under Amy and Rory eventually became like their pet, he was just this sort of strange pet that could talk, that would sweep in every now and then. He's meeting someone new because he presents himself in a hew light and she forces him to be a different version of himself slightly.

As always with Doctor Who, the essence and heartbeat of the show is the same – old alien, hot chick travel through the universe and get into capers. That will always be the heartbeat of the show and it's whether it’s more flirtatious, whether there's more attraction, whether there's more zing, you'll have to wait and find out. I’m sure we'll cover all that territory.
He also explained a little more about the Doctor's grief at the start of the episode:
There's a great deal of time that's passed in cunning story terms. It's great because you kind of go: "500 years later..." but the burden of that loss will always be with him. Like the burden of losing Rose Tyler or whoever it is – is always with him to some extent. But I think particularly for my Doctor it is. Amy and Rory were so significant. But what I would say as well is I always think it's important for the show for that grieving to have its place but move on. I felt it affected Martha's journey quite a lot that he was always talking about Rose, which is completely understandable, because the Tenth Doctor and Rose had such a wonderful connection but the show has to propel forward back into adventure mode.

Videos

Lizo Mzimba's preview of The Snowmen is available to watch on the BBC News website. The BBC have also released an interview with Matt and Jenna as part of their Adventure Calendar.

The Snowmen: At Your Service!

The latest teaser clip from the BBC features Vastra, Jenny and Dr Simeon ...


The Director speaks ...

Director Saul Metzstein was interviewed by the Scottish Daily Record, during which he discussed the new-look TARDIS and making a 360° pan around the interior:
It's the shot where you can ­really see that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside ... Because of the shape of the set and the studio, it was pretty tricky to pull off, but visual effects are a lot better than they used to be. The biggest complication was giving Matt Smith enough time to acquaint himself with where all the dials and levers were. Obsessive Doctor Who fans, like [writer] Steven Moffat, are very particular about the continuity of which bits turn round when the TARDIS is flying, and what lights react to what. Personally I'm not so bothered.
Talking about the design of the eponymous Snowmen, he said:
The snowmen were pretty difficult to get right. The ones we started off with looked like Zippy from Rainbow, and you can't have non-scary, almost cute-looking monsters. We were very amused when we saw the John Lewis snowman advert – I guess we've made their evil cousins!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

BFI: Doctor Who at 50 update

Watch the Eleven Doctors at the BFI during 2013! Image: BFI
BFI logo
Doctor Who at 50
As mentioned earlier this month, the BFI plan to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who with special screenings each month next year in the lead-up to the Anniversary itself; the organisation has now announced details about the first quarter of 2013.

As previously mentioned, the season kicks off at the very beginning with William Hartnell's An Unearthly Child on 12th January; this will be followed on 9th February with Patrick Troughton tackling the Tomb of the Cybermen; then in March Jon Pertwee is up against The Master as The Mind of Evil is unveiled in newly restored colour! All stories are accompanied by a Q&A panel, though guests have yet to be announced.


Justin Johnson, BFI Programmer, said:
The BFI is very proud of our long relationship with both the BBC and the Doctor Who production team. We are delighted to be playing complete stories featuring each incarnation of The Doctor, supported by Q&As with special guests. As well as the TV work, we also plan to play newly digitally restored versions of the Peter Cushing films, courtesy of Studio Canal. This is the perfect opportunity for old fans and new to come and learn about the genesis of the show and its continuing jounrney.

Doctor Who's executive producer Caroline Skinner said:
To be doing this enormous and exciting project for the BFI is just a dream come true. We're delighted that in this 50th year of the show we have such brilliant support from the BFI for our celebration of Doctor Who's cultural heritage. Some of the stories we're going to show are thrilling, surprising, funny and just plain classic TV. Enjoy, everyone!

In November, the climax of the BFI's celebration will include a special preview of An Adventure in Space and Time , the drama written by Mark Gatiss exploring the personalities that brought the longest running sci-fi series to life.


The stories representing the other eight Doctors will be confirmed next year.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Snowmen: Don't Talk To Them ...

The BBC have released a new teaser clip for The Snowmen as today's festive treat from the Adventure Calendar:

The Snowmen: publicity roundup

A roundup of coverage for The Snowmen that has taken place in the past week or so - please note that what follows below includes some plot details that might be considered spoilers.

Interviews

Steven Moffat was a guest on the Simon Mayo Drivetime show on BBC Radio Two on Monday. Talking about Doctor Who's appeal on Christmas Day, he felt the show's accessibility as a "shared live viewing experience" was a great benefit:
... much more so with the Christmas one than with the others, yes, there's a big live audience for it - because, yeah, you watch it as a family. Sometimes people actually watch it later, because their family aren't there - people tend to watch it in groups, that's very true of Doctor Who.

I think Doctor Who is always a bit Christmassy, it's that kind of show, it always feels substantially madder than every other show, and we're always striving to make it an event - so you have to make Doctor Who even more so when it's Christmas Day. One thing I'd say I think it needs to be more accessible to new viewers, because more people are dragged in to watch Doctor Who on that day than on any other occasion it's on.
Talking about an initially melancholy Doctor in the episode, he explained:
What you need to remember is that the last time we saw the Doctor he had lost the Ponds - he lost Amy and Rory - he lost them to the Weeping Angels, and when you begin this story he's in a terrible place, he's in a right old grump, he's retired from saving the universe, he's having nothing to do with anyone, and although there's a building threat to humanity he's having none of it, he's just storming away being a sort of Scrooge.
The full interview is currently available to listen to via a BBC podcast (from 12:50) until Monday.

Ahead of the press screening on Tuesday evening, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman popped into the BBC Radio One Breakfast Show hosted by Nick Grimshaw. The duo chatted about their recent trip to New York and Jenna's arrival in the show (1:36:45), and later answered listeners' questions (1:52:55, and a clip is available to watch via the BBC iPlayer and YouTube).

Matt later appeared on ITV1's This Morning (after the first ad break), hosted by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby - the first time he'd appeared on the show. He chatted about his inspirations for the character of the Doctor, the enthusiasm of fans, things he kept from the old TARDIS, and of course not really saying what to expect on Christmas Day! Enthusing about guest star Richard E Grant, he said:
He was born to be a Who villain, he pitches it on that perfect level and tone.

The end of the week was rounded off by an appearance by Matt on The Graham Norton Show, but although this was to promote the Christmas Special, as Matt pointed out:
As always, I can't tell you anything, this is the tragedy of the show I'm in is that you come on and you can't actually promote it!
Recorded last month, the show was still able to treat viewers to a brand new clip featuring the Doctor, Clara and Strax.

Norton mentioned that fellow guests Billy Connolly and Jennifer Saunders had once been suggested as potential Doctors, though the former said it wasn't true and the latter said she started the rumours herself!

Matt was also 'required' to kiss a member of the audience by other guest Dustin Hoffman, which the actor only reluctantly agreed to as his mum was watching! A clip of this exchange is available on YouTube and BBC iPlayer.

Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw, 18 Dec 2012 Matt Smith on This Morning, 18 Dec 2012 Matt Smith on The Graham Norton Show, 21 Dec 2012

UK Press Screening

The press screening for the episode took place in the evening of 18th December, followed by a Q&A session with Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, during which the adventure and the further adventures next year were discussed.

As seen in the trailer, the Doctor once again gets a firm kiss from his co-star, and speaking at the Q&A of their on-screen "relationship", Matt said:
I think always with this show and always with this relationship in this show, it will constantly evolve. And it should. And hopefully over the course of the next eight or nine episodes that we see subsequently to this it will evolve even further. We're excited about next year now and getting into that and actually going, "Well, now we know what we know about each other and the way we work and who we are and all the rest of it..." I kind of likened it, Steven, earlier, in an interview, to an arranged marriage. Not that I know what an arranged marriage is like. But it's like, "You're married, have chemistry." Do you know what I mean?
On the other hand, Jenna responded:
I likened it to a blind date. I felt like I was on a blind date... It's like putting two people together. Like, "Oh I know someone you'll really get on with." And then go in to save the world!

The Doctor (Matt Smith) with the new TARDIS interior. Photo: BBCThe new TARDIS interior was also discussed, with Steven explaining how it came about:
It was mainly saying to Michael Pickwoad (production designer), "What would you do with the TARDIS?" But we had a notion because I thought we'd been getting progressively whimsical with the interior of the TARDIS. And I started to think, "Well, why is that? It's not a magical place, it's actually a machine." So we did say 'machine' and actually, potentially, as you'll see more spectacularly later, quite a scary place sometimes. We make a lot of use of that. And it's also a lot easier to shoot, I have to say.”
 
Inevitably, the question of where the team would travel to in the TARDIS came up:
Matt: I'd do a few things. I’d go and pick up Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. I'd try and marry one of them. Get them to sing to me. And maybe one of them could do both. And then I'd go and see England win the World Cup in '66. And I'd go and visit some sort of Jurassic age, I think.

Jenna: I'd go back to ancient Egypt. I was watching a TV programme – where did the pyramids come from? I'd go find out where they came from. I'd go find out how they were built. And then other than that, maybe New York in the Twenties.

Steven: I'm a perfectly happy man. I'd go right here. I don't want to go anywhere. I'm having too much fun to leave. I'd be terrified. Wouldn't you?

With thanks to Ian Wylie for Q&A coverage - you can read his full report here.

"The Kiss"

The BBC have released a couple of publicity shots to "cherish" the moment(!):

The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Photo: BBC The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Photo: BBC

Media Coverage (United Kingdom)

Reporting on the preview, Catherine Gee of The Telegraph said:
For all its new features, this is an episode filled with knowing nods to please Who fans, including a reference drawn from elsewhere in the Moffat catalogue, and the return of some of the Doctor’s old friends in the shape of Strax, Vastra and Jenny. Dr Simeon's ominous warning that "winter is coming" also suggests that Moffat may be a Game of Thrones fan. . . . It's not quite as action-packed as previous specials but compared with the other sedate period Christmas Day offerings of Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey, or the impending apocalypse-free episodes of The Royle Family and Strictly Come Dancing, this festive instalment of the sci-fi series will give the post-dinner snoozers a much-needed boost.
Vicky Frost of The Guardian said:
New music, new titles, a fetching new costume, sleek new Tardis interior and, most of all, a new companion, make this year's festive Doctor Who special filled with surprises. . . . It is not as if the 60-minute Christmas special – which perhaps controversially comes sprinkled with a seasonal splash of romance – is unambitious: among the co-stars is Richard E Grant as the deliciously wicked Dr Simeon, a man dreaming of a white Christmas.
Jenna explained a little of her character to Neela Debnath from The Independent:
I think it's one of these things where she meets this guy that she's incredibly interested in and by and wants to know more but there's also something - he has answers that she wants. She wants answers. She's on her own mission. (Clara) is the kind of girl who lives by her own means, she doesn't need other people as much to get by, so she's a bit more of an equal. As soon as she meets him - and he's not the kind of guy that you meet every day - she's interested and wants to know who he is and where he's come from and she doesn't give up and follows that track.
Further coverage of the press screening can be found from the Daily Mail, Evening Standard and Western Mail.

Reviewing the episode, Jonathan Carley of What Culture said:
Put simply, The Snowmen makes the Christmas Special feel fresh again, so much so it may as well be vacuum packed and wrapped with foil. So the firm underpinning of a good script is there, and I can tell you this will reward repeat viewing afterwards to reassess the intricacies of the plot. I myself am looking forward to re-watching on Christmas day if my family can tolerate my smugness. But there is also plenty going on to keep you entertained if you're feeling quite relaxed about it.
Simon Brew of Den of Geek concluded:
The Snowmen certainly bodes very well for the year ahead. It’s a lower key story on the surface, perhaps, albeit an episode that proves once again Moffat's skill for introducing major new characters. It's also an excellent Christmas special, and quite a serious one. And whereas seasonal outings for Doctor Who have proven quite divisive in recent years, we suspect this one is going to have a lot more people on its side. It's very much worth your time.

The Telegraph interviewed Jenna-Louise Coleman while on set last month and chatted about her career leading up to becoming the latest Doctor Who sidekick. In addition, Digital Spy have conducted video interviews with Steven Moffat about writing his third Christmas Special and and how to entice a new audience to the show, and with Matt and Jenna chatting about the Special.

Other general media coverage of The Snowmen include: Daily Mail; Daily Mail(2); The Sun; Independent; Metro; Mirror; Daily Star, and Radio Times.

Media Coverage (United States)

The United States press had their own screening in New York earlier in the month. Alex Zalvin of MTV reported:
This is probably the second best Christmas episode ever after 2010’s superlative A Christmas Carol. Since the latter episode is probably my favourite episode of Who ever, that's certainly putting it in high company. The episode is laugh out loud funny, emotional, and more importantly, captures the spirit of the holidays.

There's a beautiful sequence about halfway through that might be one of the most magical, storybook creations the show has ever done, more on par with a stage play than a TV show, but by golly, it works.

Jenna-Louise Coleman is a brilliant, perfect addition to the cast. Her patter, delivery, and whole demeanor make her a female Matt Smith, and it's brilliant. She matches him line for line, move for move, and if you’re not in love with her by the end of the episode...well...you’ll be in love with her.
Other coverage of the press screening appeared in: Wall Street Journal; io9; Forbes; and Huffington Post.

At an interview held at the BBC America offices (reported by CNN), Jenna was quizzed about her experiences of entering the very public world of Doctor Who:
You see "it" everywhere and you're used to it, like I was used to seeing Matt's face all over the place. But, when I was auditioning, being sat on the Tube and you see the posters, and it was always like he was pointing at me. There's not very much time to analyze as you go. It is only now that I feel like I've just been playing with all my mates for the last couple of months, and then suddenly, I'm like, "but people are going to see this," you know?

"This" life is so exciting on a daily basis. Everything's so dramatic every day, and it's the end of the world every week. You're either running or there's a snow machine or rain machine, or you're in a harness and you're on wires. ... On an off day, I find that I get bored quickly, like, "Where's the Cybermen?"
Jenna also revealed that she had auditioned for the show before, and what her grandmother thought!
I auditioned for Amy's best mate in it, and was pretty close to getting the part, and my grandma was absolutely devastated I didn't. So, we came back around, and I don't think she can believe it, actually. It is quite surreal for her, and she's quite looking forward to meeting Matt.
As previously reported, Matt and Jenna also undertook a Q&A for BBC America's Doctor Who Tumblr, fielding questions from the social networking community.

With Doctor Who having made the cover of TV Guide this December, the magazine also spoke to the two stars about their first jobs, what they do in their free time, their favourite current and childhood television shows, awkward moments, and what stands out for them in the Christmas Special.

Entertainment Weekly discuss Doctor Who and The Snowmen in their latest InsideTV podcast. Other US-based coverage included: Miami Herald; Tulsa World; San-Antonio Express; and Winston-Salem Journal; Seattle Times.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Songtaran Carols

Today's festive treat from the BBC Adventure Calendar is a selection of carols given a Sontaran makeover by Commander Strax...

Worlds In Time Extends Its Reach

The Doctor Who multi-player online social game Worlds In Time has now been made available on the Kongregate, Newgrounds.com, and Armor Games platforms.

Published by BBC Worldwide Digital Entertainment And Games and developed by Three Rings, it was launched earlier this year, with the game seeing players guided by the Doctor and working alone or uniting in missions against villains and iconic monsters such as the Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Daleks, Autons, Ood, and Zygons.

Robert Nashak, the executive vice-president for BBC Worldwide Digital Entertainment And Games, said:
We are excited to extend the game's reach to a wider audience and bring the beloved Doctor Who brand to more players. Distribution deals with companies like Newgrounds.com, Kongregate, and Armor Games are mutually beneficial for both parties, and provide players with an avenue to expand their gaming options.
More distribution deals are said to be in development.

Kongregate co-founder and chief executive officer Jim Greer said:
We are excited to showcase the first Doctor Who online game to the Kongregate gaming platform. Doctor Who: Worlds in Time combines elements of puzzle and strategy gaming with a deep story and diverse character base under the renowned Doctor Who brand. We are always looking to bring the best new and engaging free-to-play games to Kongregate, and Doctor Who: Worlds in Time definitely fits the bill.
Tom Fulp, the founder of Newgrounds.com, added:
Newgrounds.com serves as a creative outlet for games, movies, and art. It gives individuals a platform to showcase and share their content with the world. We are happy to expand our offerings and are excited to be able to offer Doctor Who: Worlds in Time to our community.

Ron Johnson
, the director of product development at Armor Games, commented:
Many of us at Armor Games are huge fans of the Doctor Who brand, and we're excited to be able to share our love of the Doctor by presenting Doctor Who: Worlds in Time to our players.
The game is updated continually and throughout the adventure players explore and interact with various characters and complete puzzles to move the game forward. There are a variety of puzzle types that players can choose from, and completing the puzzles also serves to charge various devices, such as the sonic screwdriver. Based on a player's puzzle-play preference and skills, they can be a guardian, technician, diplomat, or adventurer in the game.

It should be noted that Worlds In Time is an online game that takes place in a live, open social environment and allows for live chat between players. As such, it is restricted to people aged at least 13. In addition, it uses "micro-transactions" for players to buy "an enhanced experience".

People Roundup

Toby Jones stars as Alfred Hitchock in a BBC Two drama about his relationship with the model and actress Tippi Hedren. The Girl, which airs on Wednesday 26th December at 9pm, also features Imelda Staunton as Hitchcock's wife, Alma, and Penelope Wilton as Peggy Robertson, who was his production assistant.

Peter Capaldi triumphed at the British Comedy Awards, winning the Best TV Comedy Actor gong for the role of Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It. Among the other nominees he beat to the title was Hugh Bonneville. [BBC News, 13 Dec 2012]

Steven Moffat's first TV work, the teen drama Press Gang, will be one of the shows feted when ITV celebrates 30 years of children's television on the commercial channel. A one-hour documentary marking the 30th anniversary of Children's ITV - which was launched on 3rd January 1983 - will be shown on ITV1 on Saturday 29th December at 6.30pm, and between 9.25am and 6pm on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th January CITV (which started on 11th March 2006) will be showing a selection of its iconic shows, including the first and last episodes of Press Gang. Two episodes of Children's Ward - which was produced by Russell T Davies, who also wrote for it - are to be shown as well, as is an episode of Button Moon, whose theme music was co-composed by Peter Davison. [Radio Times, 18 Dec 2012]

Yasmin Paige returns as Beth Mitchell when the second series of BBC Three comedy Pramface begins its run of six episodes on Tuesday 8th January at 10pm.

The two-part BBC Four drama Spies of Warsaw - starring David Tennant - starts on Wednesday 9th January at 9pm. Set in 1937, it features Tennant as Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, the French military attaché in Warsaw. With Hitler's shadow looming over mainland Europe, Mercier is grossly suspicious of the German military's intentions, but must juggle his formal duties at stifling diplomatic functions with the often death-defying realities of espionage. The drama also stars Burn Gorman as French bureaucrat Jourdain.

The Symphonic Spectacular in Sydney, Australia was hosted by Alex Kingston and Mark Williams, who were interviewed beforehand by local Breakfast show Today; the Sydney Opera House itself has provided a behind-the-scenes video featuring the presenters and composer Murray Gold. Meanwhile, Dudley Simpson was a special guest at the show on Wednesday - the classic series composer met up with his modern series counterpart Gold and conductor Ben Foster, and was also presented with a print of all eleven Doctors, celebrating his contribution to over 250 episodes of the series. [Dallas Jones/Doctor Who Club of Australia, 21 Dec 2012]

A variety of Who names have been nominated in the 2013 WhatsOnStage Awards: Billie Piper is up for The DIGITAL THEATRE Best Actress in a Play for The Effect; her husband Laurence Fox, alongside Arthur Darvill, Cian Barry, Jolyon Coy, Matthew Lewis and Lewis Reeves, are nominated for both the Best Play Revival and The IMAIL Best Ensemble Performance awards for Our Boys; Best Supporting Actress in a Play - Fenella Woolgar (Hedda Gabler) and Helen McCrory (The Last of the Haussmans); Best Supporting Actor in a Play - Adrian Scarborough (Hedda Gabler), Mark Gatiss (The Recruiting Officer) and Tim McInnerny (Scenes from an Execution); The STAR Best Actress in a Musical - Imelda Staunton (Sweeney Todd); The JO HUTCHISON INTERNATIONAL Best Solo Performance - Simon Callow (A Christmas Carol). Voting remains open until Thursday 31st January 2013.

While on the subject of award nominations, the writer Robert Shearman is in the running for the Short Story Collection Of The Year title in the This Is Horror Awards 2012 for his anthology Remember Why You Fear Me. Voting is open until 12.01am GMT on Friday 4th January 2013.

In Memoriam:

The newsreader Kenneth Kendall has died at the age of 88. In 1955, he achieved the distinction of becoming the BBC's first in-vision newsreader, and 11 years later he made a cameo appearance in Doctor Who, playing himself as a newsreader in episode 4 of the story The War Machines. He also had a cameo as a newsreader in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. After leaving the world of news, Kendall moved to the Isle of Wight, where he ran an art gallery. [The Independent, 14 Dec 2012]

(roundup compiled by John Bowman and Chuck Foster)

Daleks: 49 Years of Terror!

Today marks the 49th anniversary of the first Dalek serial, with The Dead Planet airing at 5:15pm on Saturday 21st December 1963. Though the full design by Raymond Cusick would not be revealed until after Christmas, this episode ended with an iconic moment of Barbara's scream as she is menaced by an unknown 'something' . . .

Talking about this very first appearance, Steven Moffat - writer of their most recent adventure on screen, Asylum of the Daleks - said:
The whole nation convulsed when you saw a little bit of that sucker come onto the screen - brilliant, brilliant work all those years ago!
Doctor Who's lead writer reflects on the Daleks in a series of videos celebrating their iconic moments, presented on the BBC's Adventure Calendar throughout December: their first appearance in The Daleks, their size and settings in Evil of the Daleks, and their exciting return after a number of years in Day of the Daleks.


Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2012 AD!

Not just content with confronting us with a host of old and new variations during Asylum of the Daleks, the Doctor's most persistent adversary has also been 'terrorising' children and adults alike throughout the year at various local events - here is a selection of their many appearances:

23 May: Hackers in Boulder, Colorado, altered a road sign to warn of Daleks ahead! <a target="_blank" href="http://www.coloradodaily.com/ci_20689381/warning-daleks-ahead-boulder-road-sign">Colorado Daily</a>8 June: Davros is superseded by Lowestoft's Nathan Ward as Dalek creator ...  <a target="_blank" href="http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/bernard_matthews_youth_awards_winner_from_lowestoft_creates_fundraising_dalek_1_1404510">EDP24</a>21 July: Encouraging pupils to read over the summer <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dudleynews.co.uk/news/9821593.Children_s_summer_reading_challenge_launched/">Dudley News</a>23 July: Appearing at Heroes and Legends at Margam Castle <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Daleks-Doctor-Heroes-Legends-park-event/story-16581680-detail/story.html">South Wales Evening Post</a>6 August: Helping to raise money for Great Western Air Ambulance at the Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/dr_who_s_nemeses_invade_grand_pier_for_fundraiser_1_1473166">Weston Mercury</a>6 August: Julian Vince's wish to immortalise them as a statue <a target="_blank" href="http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/wimbledonnews/9855725.Dalek_model_maker_calls_for_permanent_invasion_of_iconic_villains/">Wimbledon Guardian</a>12 August: Helping to raise money for charities in Norwich <a target="_blank" href="http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/dalek_doctor_who_and_predator_take_part_in_charity_mission_in_norwich_1_1479129">Norwich Evening News</a>31 August: A Dalek is found lurking in Cleeve Hill woodland <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Mystery-Dr-Daleks-Cleeve-Hill/story-16797642-detail/story.html">Gloucestershire Echo</a>3 September: Friend reunited? Original Dalek director Christopher Barry at the Power: Re-Imagined event, Fareham <a target="_blank" href="http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/daleks-come-to-fareham-but-it-s-all-for-good-causes-1-4219109">Portsmouth News</a>24 September: Invading Cheltenham to collect money for the NSPCC <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Exterminate-Daleks-invade-Cheltenham/story-16973044-detail/story.html">Gloucestershire Echo</a>25 September: On the loose at Alford's Grampian Transport Museum <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2946812">Aberdeen Press and Journal</a>28 September: Collecting for Ovarian Cancer UK and KiDs in Westhoughton, Bolton <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/districtnews/districtatog/9955318.Dalek_drops_in_for_charity_collection/">Bolton News</a>28 September: A Dalek from the second movie came up for auction at Dickins Auctioneers’ Antiques and Collectables, Buckinghamshire <a target="_blank" href="http://www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk/news/local/dalek-invasion-at-auctioneers-1-4303582">Bicester Advertiser and Review</a>24 October: On the front line to keep Aldbourne tidy! <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/10004662.Extermination_to_keep_Aldbourne_village_tidy/">This is Wiltshire</a>29 October: Getting reacquainted with Steven Taylor, aka Peter Purves, at a Bury St Edmunds Exhibition <a target="_blank" href="http://www.eadt.co.uk/entertainment/gallery_doctor_who_s_tardis_lands_in_bury_st_edmunds_1_1673184">EADT</a>12 November: Supporting the Movie Buffs' Collectors' Fair  at Hull University <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Invasion-movie-buffs/story-17299745-detail/story.html">This is Hull and East Striding</a>28 November: 'Celebrating' Rowde village shop’s third anniversary. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/10074698.Daleks_set_to_invide_Rowde_shop_celebrations/">This is Wiltshire</a>18 December: Raising funds for Marie Curie at Sainsbury's in Swindon. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10114207.Customers____tears_of_laughter_as_Daleks_invade_supermarket_in_Swindon/">Swindon Advertiser</a>